Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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February 5, 2024

Social Media Best Practices for Authors in 2024

by Kathryn McClatchy

Most writers have a love-hate relationship with social media. It’s consistently the best way to promote your author brand and books as well as build an engaged community of readers who love you and your work for little to no cash outlay. For many of us, though, the ever-changing platforms, algorithms, and best practices can be disheartening. Even on the best days, social media is often a distraction rather than a tool.

In 2023, 

  • AI-generated content and tools took center stage as a trending topic and created change in how we use social media and create content.
  • Twitter became X and has made many changes, both positive and negative, in the first full year with Elon Musk as owner.
  • Meta launched Threads in July to much fanfare and record-setting, but since then its daily active user count has dropped 82%.
  • YouTube video podcasts became the most popular talk shows, and often sources of news. As per YouGov: only “25% of US adults now say that TV is their primary news source, down from 31% in 2019. In the same time, Americans who say social is their primary news source have increased from 12% to 18%, while for Americans under 34, social has already usurped TV as the top new source.”

The Social Media Landscape for Authors

Social Media Platforms from Search Engine Journal

Here's a great resource for all kinds of internet and social media usage data for the last year, broken down by demographics, platforms, advertising, and more: “DIGITAL 2023 OCTOBER GLOBAL STATSHOT REPORT” from https://datareportal.com/. It might be a bit overwhelming, but it has great infographics to help one understand the online landscape better.

Semrush Ranking


Google has been talking about E-A-T for a few years now, but with the extensive use of generative AI, they have added another E. This is good news for us, as their requirements and Quality Rater Guidelines for good content will almost certainly exclude most AI-created content. E-E-A-T stands for Expertise, Experience, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. To learn more about Google’s process for rating E-E-A-T, SEO, and more, read this article from Google. Fortunately for us, it’s what most authors already know and do, and will hopefully remove some of the fear of AI taking our jobs.

  • Fun fact, I ran this article in sections through Writer.com’s AI Content Detector, and the various sections were rated between 35% and 98% human-generated. I personally wrote the entire article myself, but because I focused on the facts and data, rather than my personal E-E-A-T, some sections ranked lower


Facebook has become more user-friendly over the past year and has reversed some decline that was being observed a year ago. The biggest changes, however, are in Meta Ads. Still one of the top options for paid advertising as far as cost and customizable targeting, Meta is currently rolling out AI assistance in creating ads, and has recently partnered with Zapier and HubSpot for CRM integrations. While these tools are exciting, what you need to know is that if you use Meta advertising, make sure your ads look and feel like a personalized post or Reel, and be sure to follow the Google E-E-A-T protocol.


Instagram is probably the best at keeping its users up to date with changes. Adam Mosseri, the head of IG, posts regular weekly Reels letting us know what's rolling out, what’s in development, and why. He also has a Broadcast Channel for creators where he shares even more behind-the-scenes info that is relevant to us.

  • The big takeaway for authors is that Instagram has reset the algorithm to rate reach and engagement based on the size of your account. There are five size tiers, so the small accounts (under 500 followers) are no longer competing with the Kardashians for impressions. And while Reels are still important, they are not all important. 
  • Your IG strategy for 2024 needs to include a mix of Reels, Carousel posts, Stories, DMs, and Static posts– in that order of priority. Getting in the DMs with your readers and followers will very much help you in the algorithm and get your posts seen by more followers and new people. 
  • The hashtag strategy is still adjusting. I encourage you to experiment. While some accounts are dropping hashtags altogether, others are finding the full 30 are still giving them the best exposure. Mosseri is currently recommending using, on average, about eight very specific and relevant hashtags at the bottom of your post to help the algorithm correctly classify who you are, what you do, and who your target audience is.


TikTok, while still rather new among the leading social media platforms, is evolving quickly. They've released a customized-for-you feed, 15-minute-long videos, shut down their creator fund, and expanded “out of phone” TikTok ads to show on billboards, cinema screens, and elsewhere.

  • Their more intrusive privacy policy released in early 2023 caused renewed censorship among many countries, businesses, and government entities. If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to read the privacy policy for yourself. TikTok updated it again on 24 January 2024. 
  • One point of discussion among social media marketers is the issue of higher vanity metrics for creators and businesses, but lower conversion rates compared to other platforms. If you are not already, make sure you track your sales relative to the content you are putting out on each platform.


X/Twitter has been in the news for over a year, and Elon Musk has been a controversial figure for several reasons. I’ve always coached my clients to focus on the 2-3 platforms they enjoy and where their people are. If you still like Twitter, and your community is still active there, then stay. The pendulum seems to be leveling out, and a lot of good things are happening on that platform.

As of the last six months, ROI on advertising has been the best of all social media platforms. It’s cost-effective, gets great results, and is outperforming both Facebook/Meta and TikTok. As of this month, X/Twitter is still one of the top 15 platforms (out of over 250 social media sites) in the world based on monthly active users.

  • If you have left X, or are looking for a comparable platform, you might want to consider IG Threads, Mastodon, or Bluesky (still in Beta and by invite only). The stated goal of Threads is to become part of the Fediverse (of which Mastodon is a part) so many people have just jumped straight over to Mastodon.
  • Starting April 2023, X/Twitter began winding down its legacy blue check verified user program in favor of a pay-to-play premium option. This stirred up a lot of ire; however, Meta and other platforms are now following suit. Is it worth it? The reviews are mixed, and there is no definitive answer yet.


YouTube is a perennial favorite among users, creators, and businesses. It’s only been considered a social media platform over the last few years, as it’s technically the second largest search engine in the world, owned by Google, the largest search engine in the world. With the addition of improved commenting options, community features that mimic other traditional social media platforms, and the introduction of YT Shorts, this platform is currently getting the most use by viewers and creators, and has the best direct correlation between content and sales.

  • If you are already creating TikToks and Reels, make sure to add them to YouTube. However, just like readers have genre expectations, users on various platforms have different expectations also. What performs well on one platform may tank on another. Data from Pew Research shows that YouTube is again the most used platform. 
  • In the last half of 2023, YouTube added Video Podcasts which are now treated separately from other videos in the algorithm. If you are podcasting elsewhere, make sure you upload to YouTube podcast, which will be absorbing Google Podcast in the days ahead.
Pew Research Study


LinkedIn changed pretty dramatically through the pandemic with people working from home. It has become less of an online resume site and more like old Facebook for the professional set. It boasts the highest average level of income and education among its users of any platform. If you are targeting well-educated readers who have discretionary income, love to travel, and are interested in thought leadership, then make sure you are active on LinkedIn.

  • You can find specialized interest groups, articles, audio and video events, and a wealth of resources. There are also many useful rather than “salesy” webinars and weekly interview shows that live on this platform.
  • In 2023, LinkedIn incorporated a creator account that is perfect for authors. It lets you have followers separate from connections and gives more useful analytics. 


Reddit has released an API in preparation for its upcoming IPO, that will allow users to get actual analytics, and soon we will be able to use scheduling software to plan posts ahead of time. This venue is already one of the top social media platforms and is also preparing to level up its advertising capabilities.  This is a channel to consider as you look to build community with your readers.


BeReal is the fastest fastest-growing emergent social media platform. This is an interesting app that is building amazing communities based on candid photos showing you and where you are. Currently, there are no advertising options. If you miss the days when Instagram was purely a photo-sharing app, this might be a good option for you.


Substack is disrupting how we write newsletters and blog posts. Founded in 2017, it now boasts over 500,000 users, a 5-year search growth of 7,500%. It also introduced Notes in 2023 which is a cross between old-school Twitter and Instagram.

Best Current Practices for Engaging Content

  • Variety is key: Utilize different content formats like text, images, videos, and live streams to keep readers engaged. And it can’t be repeated enough, don’t post and ghost! If you are not going to engage with your audience in the comments, DMs, in groups, or on their posts, then you will not be successful.
  • Storytelling power: Leverage storytelling techniques to connect with readers on an emotional level. As authors, we should excel in this. Make sure every post has a beginning, middle, and end. In marketing terms, that’s a hook, points, and a call to action. Even on Instagram Reels, you need captions so that the algorithm has words, especially keywords, to evaluate.
  • Authenticity matters: Be genuine, and transparent, and let your personality shine through. Embrace your weird, tell your personal experiences, and document what you are doing. This is our superpower that cannot be duplicated by AI. 
  • Community focus: Encourage interaction through polls, questions, and conversations. Consider POV, and make sure everything you post is attracting your ideal readers. Don’t be afraid to repel those who would dislike your work or leave one-star reviews. This is the beauty of social media. Don’t forget to cull your followers. You do NOT need 10,000 followers! Those followers who do not engage with you through comments, reactions, saves, or shares are hurting your engagement, as the equation is based on followers for all platforms.
Engagement Rate Formula: comments + likes + shares divided by the # of followers, multiply the ratio by 100. From Unleashing the Next Chapter
  • Hashtags and discoverability: Use relevant hashtags strategically to reach new audiences. But across all platforms, this is becoming less and less important as the apps are now able to read and evaluate the captions, audio, and video for keywords. If you are using video, make sure you have books in the shot! Your background matters, especially on TikTok and YouTube.


What are your biggest challenges with social media in 2024? How do you feel about the changes?

* * * * * *

Want to know more?

I realize this article was pretty dense. If you made it this far, you are my people! I have a monthly newsletter, Unleashing, that provides digital marketing updates, suggestions, current best practices, and more that you might enjoy. It is designed for those who would rather practice their craft than keep up with the marketing side of their art (authors, artists, musicians, artisans, designers, etc.).

About Kathryn:

If you are interested in knowing more about me or Unleashing the Next Chapter, here you go:

Kathryn McClatchy

Kathryn McClatchy has been writing since childhood, working in marketing since the 80s, and blogging since 2012 as Unleashing the Next Chapter. She is also the founder and facilitator of the annual Writers Guild of Texas Flash Fiction Contest and host of the Authorpreneurs Unleashed podcast.

Unleashing the Next Chapter has grown into a boutique digital marketing agency serving creative entrepreneurs and their communities through coaching, strategy, and management. UtNC focuses on holistic marketing with an emphasis on Brand, Content, Email, Research, and Social Media. Kathryn is passionate about helping writers and writing organizations learn how to use digital media to build their brands and serve their communities.

Kathryn is a wife, mother, stroke survivor, and service dog partner. She is happily addicted to books, tea, chocolate, D&D, and houseplants (not consistently in that order).

Wishing you a creative and productive 2024!

All images provided by Kathryn McClatchy are either her original work or are linked to their source.

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15 comments on “Social Media Best Practices for Authors in 2024”

  1. Kathryn, thanks for this excellent roundup. Lately, I've thought Substack might be a good alternative to a website and the best vehicle for a newsletter, but I really don't want my platform used without my permission to bombard readers with suggestions and invitations to look into other offerings. I respect my eventual readers too much to subject them to that treatment over my name. Still wondering....

    1. Hi Anna,
      Do consider Substack. You do get to manage what people see, and whether or not you recommend other pages. If you follow other writers, you get to choose if they are listed on your page as those you follow or not.

      You also get to choose if your posts are free to subscribers, or behind a pay wall. You can also set different tiers of subscriptions.

      I like that you get more control on substack than most other platforms.

      I encourage youbto do a bit more research.

      Happy writing!

      1. Kathryn, many thanks for the clarifications. I'm much encouraged. (Another good example of the fine community spirit here.)

  2. This is an interesting review of social media platforms, but what specific practices should authors use to maximize their time? SM is a time-sucker, and the ROI is often poor, especially for authors. So what are the best ways to increase engagement using the tools that are currently available.

    1. Oh, my new friend! This is another blog post 😉

      Quick answer:
      1. Create a strategy based on your intention, purpose, and goals for social media, and who your ideal audience is that you are trying to attract.

      2. Set up your own templates so that you're not constantly creating from scratch.

      3. Create a posting schedule and Content Calendar. Create the longest form of the content first, and then use that piece to repurpose and reformat for other platforms.

      4. Use a scheduling tool that lets you plan, draft, schedule, manage your inboxes, and see analytics for all your channels in one place. I recommend Metricool.

      Hope this helps.
      ~~ km

    1. Can't do marketing without stats! I'm so grateful there are people and tools to crunch the big industry numbers. It really is important to look at out individual KPIs in light of the current industry averages, especially when determining strategy for the next month or quarter.

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